Court allows Guan Eng's bid to present forensic report from another trial

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court has allowed the defence's application for a forensic report from the Shah Alam Sessions Court – which shows an exchange of WhatsApp messages between two key witnesses – to be used in Lim Guan Eng's Penang Undersea Tunnel trial.

Judge Azura Alwi said the defence's application had fulfilled all requirements.

She said although the forensic report was never presented in this court, the applicant managed to show that there were two different versions of the statements presented in the two courts as to the actual recipient of the RM2mil involving the same payment voucher and cheque.

"The court found that the matter is relevant to this case. The full facts need to be presented before the court so that the truth is known," she said.

The judge then ordered the prosecution to produce the forensic report that contained WhatsApp messages exchanged between two key witnesses – Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZCSB) director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli and businessman G. Gnanaraja – over a RM2mil payment, coined as "chocolate" meant for the "big boss."

Lim's lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo had filed an application earlier to adduce the forensic report, saying that the contents were crucial to proving that the money was not meant for or paid to his client.

The forensic report was part of the evidence in the case where Gnanaraja was charged in the Shah Alam Sessions Court in 2019 with cheating Zarul Ahmad of RM19mil.

However, Gnanaraja pled guilty to an alternate charge under the Companies Act in December 2020 and was fined RM230,000. The cheating case has since been classified as "no further action (NFA)".

Zarul Ahmad is currently on the witness stand and Gnanaraja is a prosecution witness in the trial.

After the decision, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said they would make the report available to the defence in two weeks.

Azura then fixed May 10 for mention pending the handover.

Lim, 62, is facing an amended charge of using his position as then-Penang chief minister to solicit RM3.3mil in bribes as an inducement to assist Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd (CZBUCG) owner, Zarul Ahmad, to secure the project worth RM6,341,383,702.

Lim allegedly committed the offence at the Penang Chief Minister's Office, Level 28, Komtar, George Town, between January 2011 and August 2017.

In the second amended charge, Lim is accused of soliciting a bribe of 10% of the profit from the company as gratification to secure the project.

The offence was allegedly committed near The Gardens Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, Mid Valley City here in March 2011.

Lim, who is former DAP secretary-general, faced another two charges of causing two plots of land worth RM208.8mil, belonging to the Penang government, to be disposed of to two companies linked to the state's undersea tunnel project.

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